Power Restoration Will Take Days Following Severe Storm

by Gabe Bullard on August 13, 2011

Louisville Gas and Electric and Metro Government crews are assessing the damage caused by Saturday night’s severe storm.

A brief but strong storm swept through the area shortly before 6 pm. Hours later, more than 120,000 LG&E customers in Jefferson County were without power. That’s roughly one third of all households. As of 10:45 pm, nearly 109,000 LG&E customers in Jefferson County were without power.¬†Nearly 35,000 Duke Energy customers in southern Indiana lost power at the height of the outages. At 10:45 pm, nearly 32,000 were without power. (LG&E outage map;¬†Duke outage information)

LG&E Senior Vice President Chris Hermann says it will take days to restore electricity, but the situation is not as bad as it was during the wind storm of 2008 or the ice storm of 2009.

“Well it’s too early to tell, but I think, based on the information we have, the highest winds we had were in the 69-70 mile per hour range. That’s much lower than we had when we had the Hurricane Ike. We had a greater umber of outages then. We had a far greater number of wire downs. So, relatively speaking, this is a lower order of magnitude, but still a very serious situation,” he says.

Additional crews were called in after the storm to help with power restoration.

“We have people coming in from Tennessee, Indiana, northern Arkansas, and we’re bringing in all our resident contractors, so we’re ramping up very quickly,” says Hermann.

When asked whether the third severe outage in as many years is reason enough to begin burying power lines, Hermann said that conversation is premature. After the ice storm, the company determined it wouldn’t be worth the cost to bury lines, and buried lines would not prevent all outages.

An LG&E spokesman says, as with previous outages, the company will seek a rate increase to recoup the cost of repairs.

Downed power lines at Blankenbaker Parkway caused I-64 to be closed.

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